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‘Herring,’ by Daniel Blokh

Cheap in the Soviet Union, Dedushka would bring it
for my mother to eat with bread. No sauce needed,
its salty skin enough to keep his children full for days.
In that time, that country, herring flowed
in rivers, fell from the sky like snow, the whole Union
one big herring waiting to break away into the ocean.
Some tastes can hang inside a mouth for years,
my mother says. The price may change, the mouth
too, but these flavors catch on your teeth, your tongue.
They keep you company. They cross the oceans for you.
They cross oceans.


Daniel Blokh is a 16-year-old American writer of Russian-Jewish descent, living in Birmingham, Alabama. He is the author of the memoir In Migration (BAM! Publishing 2016), the micro-chapbook The Wading Room (Origami Poems Project 2016), and the chapbook Grimmening (forthcoming from Diode Editions). His work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing awards and the Foyle Young Poet awards, and has appeared in DIALOGIST, Permafrost, Blueshift, Cleaver, Gigantic Sequins, Forage Poetry, Avis, Thin Air, Cicada, and more. He’s bad at taking naps, which sucks, because he really needs a nap right now.

featured image via Pxhere.

TIE Poet of the Month: ‘Friday,’ by Jen Mediano

I’ve observed you
sized you up
selected you from the tangle.
Now my fingers pry your underside
and I rip you open with a hollow crack.
Your serrated defenses useless now,
my teeth grip the membrane that divides
top from bottom.
I pick at your insides,
shatter your limbs
roll your guts in newspaper.
But you are not enough.
I push you aside, and
tear through the next
like you never existed.



Jen Mediano is a writer and digital content strategist. She lives in Virginia.

featured image via Maxpixel.

‘The Pleasures of Peace,’ by David Lehman


It’s not just the absence of war, Scott said, but Hemingway
had the last word, and for decades driving an ambulance in
Europe in World War I was how you made your mark as a man.
Peace in those days meant Paris and a wound and an aperitif.
No sooner do I write those words than I visualize a rocks glass
with a big rock of ice in it and something sweet but not too sweet
like Byrrh or Cynar or Campari if you have a taste for it.
That aperitif is one of the true pleasures of peace. (There are false ones.)
So I go upstairs to see what we’ve got in my homemade bar
and I decide on two jiggers of ice-cold gin, one jigger cold vermouth,
with an onion and an ice cube to keep it cold, and I make two of them,
one for me, one for Stacey, and I sip my gibson, not too fast,
and this moment is one of the pleasures of peace as I see it,
though nothing beats a summer afternoon, a book, and a stream.



Stacey & DL La Grenoulle 2016 David Lehman has taught in the New School’s MFA Writing Program since its inception in 1996. His new book of poetry is “Poems in the Manner Of,” coming from Scribner in March 2017.

featured image via via Pixabay/a>.

TIE Poet of the Month: ‘Northerner,’ by Jen Mediano


You flay its skin.
You roll the pit in your mouth.
You swat the swarm.
Your blood and calamine stain
your clothes, your collarbone.
You smell of smoke.
Your scar
your chest
your eyebrows sweat.
You roll the bottle, wet
your brow.
You grasp at sparks.
You stake them, burning, in the grass.
You drink from my glass.
You say: This isn’t mine.
You laugh.



Jen Mediano is a writer and digital content strategist. She lives in Virginia.

featured image via Pxhere.

TIE Poet of the Month: Craig Morgan Teicher

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Each month a contemporary poet presents three poems and one personal essay in which food is consumed, passed over, or reckoned with.  Craig is our poet for April, 2014.  

Craig Morgan Teicher is the author of three books, most recently To Keep Love Blurry, and the chapbook Ambivalence and Other Conundrums. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and children.

 

 

TIE Poet of the Month: Gianmarc Manzione

Days of 2003

That year he, too, finds himself
out of work, but the smell of oysters and garlic
lunging toward his open window
from Mulberry Street at night is unmistakable and good.
And the several dollars a day he makes peddling paperbacks
in the street are enough, at least,
to buy the bowl of broth he likes to drink on the steps
in the evening, watching the news building’s digital crawl
wreathe the city in rumors of disorder and a falling dollar,
the mercuric bay rosed over at sundown.

Though that isn’t why he’s knotting a tie
for the mirror now, his polyester pants,
several inches too long, pooling over his shoes.
If the greased fingers he sends through his hair almost smell of balsam,
if he again adjusts the handkerchief in his left breast pocket
to show more splendidly, it is for no one in particular.

These gestures are a tribute to talk he’s heard
of what is needed to amend a year’s disfavor,
of a random kindness in the streets—
the sort that comes to a young man
whose father’s high school ring jangles
against the dime in his pocket—
the soapy sheen of his fingernails,
a notion of better things to come.

 

Gianmarc Manzione received his MFA in creative writing at The New School in 2004. His work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Paris ReviewThe Southern Review, and elsewhere. This Brevity, his debut collection of poetry, was published in paperback in 2006. Pin Action: Small-time Gangsters, High-stakes Gambling, and the Teenage Hustler who Became a Bowling Champion, is forthcoming from Pegasus Books in 2014. 

Each month TIE highlights a contemporary poet who presents three poems and one personal essay in which food is consumed, passed over, or reckoned with.  Gianmarc is our poet for December, 2013.

TIE Poet of the Month: Gianmarc Manzione

Anniversary

Wiping a smear of chocolate
from your cheek, our arms tangle
over the bowl of batter
you’ve thinned with a cup of oil,
sailing a second licked finger through it,
discoverer of a pleasure
actually intended to be
as momentary as it is,
the anticipation of finality being the thing
that makes it good.

I have laced your anniversary dress
for the lit mirror, I have
loosened a tight black tie
over the ceremonial meal,
almost certain, for a moment,
that I wanted nothing,
that a wish’s realization need not
undermine what was hoped for,
unimpressed by the usual determinants
of sorrow, their inadvertent companionship
which becomes a kind of life.

Even so, better to reconcile
desire with what is
merely adequate, with what can’t go on:
a dance beneath this
fizzing kitchen light, clumsy and unattended,
a heated steel scoop
carving a globe of ice cream,
an extra something
to go with the cake we made,
just because.

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Gianmarc Manzione received his MFA in creative writing at The New School in 2004. His work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Paris ReviewThe Southern Review, and elsewhere. This Brevity, his debut collection of poetry, was published in paperback in 2006. Pin Action: Small-time Gangsters, High-stakes Gambling, and the Teenage Hustler who Became a Bowling Champion, is forthcoming from Pegasus Books in 2014. 

Each month TIE highlights a contemporary poet who presents three poems and one personal essay in which food is consumed, passed over, or reckoned with.  Gianmarc is our poet for December, 2013.

TIE Poet of the Month: Gianmarc Manzione

Each month a contemporary poet presents three poems and one personal essay in which food is consumed, passed over, or reckoned with.  Gianmarc is our poet for December, 2013.  

 

Summertime Blues II

The hour loads its one good bullet
and aims. Air conditioners resume

the gargled drone of clearing throats
to keep out the summer.

Thick with a whiff of approaching rain,
August coils inside me disguised as a memory.

Noon films my face
with the sweat I wiped away

at my prom date’s door,
concealing a chilled corsage

in a suit and scuffed shoes.
I am a boy then,

crashing my lips into hers
with the inelegant abandon of a first kiss.

Memory scents the screened-in porch
with smells of grease and grill fuel.

Only the neighbor’s spices know how
they reach me here

all the way from my boyhood
to reconstruct an obscure despair,

the stink of onion on my mother’s hands
the day she reached across the meal she made

to tear away the shot glass of Heineken
my father poured on a whim for me,

denying me, I thought, the one thing
any boy must do

to make a father love him.

 

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Gianmarc Manzione received his MFA in creative writing at The New School in 2004. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. This Brevity, his debut collection of poetry, was published in paperback in 2006. Pin Action: Small-time Gangsters, High-stakes Gambling, and the Teenage Hustler who Became a Bowling Champion, is forthcoming from Pegasus Books in 2014.